For almost two years, Teofimo Lopez Jr. and his father/trainer have been saying to anyone who would listen that he would take over the sport of boxing.
On Saturday, Lopez pulled an upset over Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) in a unanimous decision. Improving his record to 16-0 and unified all four lightweight titles at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Lopez retained the IBF title and added the WBA, WBO, and WBC titles after defeating Lomachenko.
“All it is, it’s ‘The Takeover,'” Lopez said. “It’s time for the new generation to come up, and it’s time for me to lead the way for everybody.”
Although there was a nine-year difference between Lopez and Lomachenko, Lopez relied on his speed and pinpoint accuracy early and put Lomachenko in a defense position for most of the bout. Lomachenko looked like he was suffering from ring rust after a 14-month layoff.
“I have to thank God. I had to dig deep,” Lopez said. “I’m thankful, I’m grateful and each, and every day I take that in. I walk by faith for a reason, and it feels good.”
“Honestly, it was to keep pressuring him; that’s all you have to do. Use the jab and never give him the opportunity to set up,” Lopez said. “Every time he wanted to throw, I had something for him to break his momentum. He was coming off a 14-month layoff, and I knew it was going to take him a long time to catch up.”
After the fight, Portland Trailblazers All-Star guard, Damian Lillard, was pretty hype and had a lot to say about Lopez.
“Stop playing with me, wasn’t even close all that talking, we will see in the ring. We’ll see, he [Vasiliy Lomachenko] is the number one pound for pound. Yeah, alright, I have been telling y’all for weeks, but y’all didn’t want to listen. Come on, man, stop playing with my boy and come off them belts,” said Lillard on Instagram Live.
“I know what I am talking about I’m a student of this. Look, earlier this week, I told them, they were like Lomachenko is the number one pound for pound, he a puncher. I said, look, nobody knew [Muhammad] Ali was the one before he beat Sonny Liston, he is going to get killed. That was before he was known as the G.O.A.T. I’m not saying Teofimo is Ali, but it is the same situation. Y’all didn’t know because you haven’t seen it before. I knew it was coming; all these boxing experts need to hire me.”
Lillard is a huge boxing fan and has been an advocate as someone that would like to see Laila Ali & Claressa Shields mix it up one day.
“I think they should do it; Claressa Shields is calling herself the greatest woman of all time before that it was Laila Ali. She retired an undefeated fighter, she is Muhammad Ali’s daughter, and they are two African American Women, who dominated the sport and currently dominating the sport,” Lillard told me.
“So, why not? I think it would be a big draw, and it would be great for them to be compensated that way. Women’s boxing doesn’t have the same opportunities as men, similar to the WNBA and NBA. So, I think it would be a great thing for women’s boxing and a great thing for both of them. In the end, it would be a great way to settle that. Laila Ali is much older, and out of her prime, why not?”
Per Brian Campbell of CBS Sports, the judges scored the fight 116-112, 119-109, and 117-113 for Lopez.
According to Damian Lillard, Vasiliy Lomachenko lost eight rounds in a row and then had to come forward and win some rounds. “Every time I see a reply, all see is Lomachenko shots. They didn’t show any of the s*** he was getting hit with; that’s why I know it was biased,” said Lillard.
“It’s a new era, Teofimo Lopez, Devon Haney, Shakur Stevenson, Ryan Garcia, Jaron “Boots” Ennis, the Charlo, Errol Spence, they are all in their primes, but it is still a new era. The best have to fight the best.”